Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009

Rarely-Performed O'Neil Drama Next Month

By Russ Bickerstaff
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1933 must’ve been kind of a weird year for playwright Eugene O’Neil. It had been five years since he had won his last Pulitzer. Somewhere in there he decides to write a comedy. O’Neil, who suffered from depression and alcoholism, had written a comedy. Ah, Wilderness doesn’t get produced nearly as much as O’Neill’s dramas. It was a weird kind of an idealized version of his childhood that was staged with th e APT at the beginning of their '08 season.

Somewhere in 1933, he also wrote what he described as a “modern miracle play.” Lacking in the stark simplicity of a traditional miracle plays, O’Neill’s drama tells the story of a man torn between dichotomies as a Catholic whose embittered life has made him an atheist who worships only love. He resolves to write a book about his life, which shocks his wife to a deathly illness. . . an experience which finds him returning to Catholicism. It wasn’t terribly well-received by American critics, though the Catholic church liked it . . . and it rarely sees the stage. This September, Morning Star Productions  brings the rarely-produced O’Neill play to the stage of Eastbrook Church on the north side. Formerly the Drama Ministry at Eastbrook, the group changed its name to Morningstar in 2006. Days Without End is the first show in their ‘09/’10 season. It runs September 18 -27 at Eastbrook Church on 5385 North Green Bay Ave.

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